An important project for science and humanity was inaugurated on Monday, May 22, at the University of Cyprus campus, the "Nicola David – Pinedo Building" of the Cyprus Cancer Research Institute (CCRI), made possible thanks to the donation of Georgios and Kaiti David in memory of their daughter Nikola, who passed away in 2016 due to cancer. The opening ceremony of the building was attended by the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Nikos Christodoulides, who unveiled the inauguration plaque at the end of the ceremony.
The ceremony was opened by members of the music ensemble of the University of Cyprus Talent Development Program, performing works by Johannes Brahms, Antonin Dvorak, and Dmitri Shostakovich.
"This donation constitutes a selfless act, a generous gesture," emphasized Mr. Christofides.
In his opening speech, Mr. Constantinos Christofides, the President of the Board of Directors of the Cyprus Cancer Research Institute (CCRI), stated that this marks the beginning of a great endeavor that perhaps should have started many years ago, and today represents a significant step forward. Mr. Christofides also noted that the CCRI is an excellent investment for the people of Cyprus and thanked the David family for their trust, their love for Cyprus, and their confidence that the Institute can play a leading role in advancing academic medical research in the country. Mr. Christofides highlighted that a distinctive feature of the center is its unique architectural building. "This donation constitutes a selfless act, a generous gesture," emphasized Mr. Christofides.
President Christodoulides stated that the State, recognizing the importance of the Center, will promote its institutional support with the aim of maximizing its utilization.
In his address, the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Nikos Christodoulides, noted that the Institute will serve as a milestone for Cyprus and an important nucleus for the development of a national network of Research Excellence, showcasing the country as a research center for cancer and patient care, as well as a breeding ground for young scientists, creating bridges of communication and knowledge exchange with other centers abroad. Mr. Christodoulides said that the State, recognizing the significance of the Center, will promote its institutional support with the aim of maximizing its utilization. He further mentioned that in consultation with the relevant Ministries, the best and most substantial means of supporting the Center will be announced in the immediate future, in collaboration with other national initiatives.
Mr. Schinas highlighted, "Here we inaugurate a pan-European center of excellence, with Cyprus at the heart of this great pan-European endeavor."
Mr. Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President of the European Commission, in his greeting at the event, stated that the ambitious project being inaugurated is directly linked to the personal experiences of the donors. He emphasized that the fight against cancer is a battle that Europe must collectively engage in, noting that currently only 3% of healthcare spending is allocated at the European level. Mr. Schinas also referred to the actions of the current European Commission in the field of health, including the European Cancer Plan, which aims at a comprehensive approach to cancer in the EU. He mentioned that through the support of the Horizon Europe program, nearly €400 million has been invested in cancer-related actions for the period 2021-2023. He highlighted that a pan-European center of excellence is being inaugurated, with Cyprus at the heart of this great European endeavor. "The Cyprus Institute of Cancer Research is a crucial element in this entire edifice, and for that, I would like to congratulate the Republic of Cyprus and President Christodoulides for the priority they place on investments." Mr. Schinas notably remarked, "Here we inaugurate a pan-European center of excellence, with Cyprus at the heart of this great pan-European endeavor."
Ms. Stella Kyriakides stated, "The Center will strengthen cancer research not only in Cyprus but also further within our large European family."
On her part, Commissioner for Health, Ms. Stella Kyriakides, stated that the issue of cancer is a matter for all of us and is at the top of Europe's priority list. Ms. Kyriakides also referred to the European plan to combat cancer and the Horizon research program, along with its dedicated research committee. She mentioned that the plan has an unprecedented funding of 4 billion euros, of which over 2 billion euros are allocated for cancer research. Ms. Kyriakides' goal is for the Institute to become a significant bridge between Europe and Cyprus. She firmly believes that the Center will enhance cancer research not only in Cyprus but also further within our large European family.
In his greeting, Mr. David, deeply moved, mentioned that he and his wife, Kaiti David, made the decision to fund the project in the name of their daughter, to give hope to those who are fighting cancer every day. He said, "Let's create an institute that promotes research, focusing on innovation." He also stated that the CCRI was established with the vision of pioneering and leading in finding innovative answers to the still unanswered questions of the scientific community regarding this disease, and to provide practical and human solutions.
The Rector of the University of Cyprus, Tasos Christofides, said about the donation from the David couple: "It is a gift of love to the University and love for humanity itself."
The Rector of the University of Cyprus, Mr. Tasos Christofides, mentioned in his address that the University of Cyprus is fortunate to have supporters like George and Kaiti David. He said, "It is a gift of love to the University and love for humanity itself." Mr. Christofides also stated that many research teams at the University are already engaged in cancer research and that this Center now serves as a connecting link among them. He further emphasized that the Institute is a testament to the strength and value of interdisciplinarity, conducting basic and applied research for early diagnosis, treatment, and pain relief. He promised the benefactors, donors, friends, and supporters of the University that they will live up to their expectations and continue to produce work and contribute to their fellow human beings.
At the inauguration of the project, among the many guests in attendance were the donors George and Kaiti David, accompanied by their family. Also present were the Vice-President of the European Commission, Margaritis Schinas, the European Commissioner for Health, Stella Kyriakides, the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nikos Christodoulides, the Minister of Interior of the Republic of Cyprus, Constantinos Ioannou, the former President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nikos Anastasiades, leaders of political parties, and members of the diplomatic corps.
Three scientific partners
The Institute is a collaboration between the University of Cyprus, the Karaiskakio Foundation, and the Oncology Center of the Bank of Cyprus. The facilities of the Institute cover a total area of 3,111 square meters. The "Nicola David – Pinedo Building" was constructed with funds from the George and Kaiti David Foundation in memory of Nicola David Pinedo, the daughter of George and Kaiti David, who passed away from cancer in 2016.
The project represents Phase I of the building infrastructure of the Institute, and its design has been entrusted by the donors to the distinguished architectural firm Kokkinou + Kourkoulas, based in Athens. The project management has been assigned to the company Diolkos, while the overall supervision of the project is under the responsibility of the Technical Services of the University of Cyprus. The building is surrounded by a garden, created by Mr. George David, and the nearby old aqueduct, approximately 120 years old, has been preserved and will soon be highlighted.
[This article was translated from its Greek original]